Broadband and Your Community
Improving Nebraska's Economic Future and Quality of Life
Broadband is Like Electricity in the 1930’s
In the mid-1930’s electricity was commonplace in urban areas, but was largely unavailable in rural areas. The Rural Electrification Act of 1935 provided federal loans for the installation of electrical distribution systems to serve rural areas and an effort was underway to convince rural communities of the benefits of electrification. New electric machines could cut costs and increase productivity for farmers which could increase their standard of living.
Today, high-speed internet is common in metropolitan areas and can be a challenge for our rural communities. In its 2010 National Broadband Plan, the Federal Communications Commission noted that despite the technology’s spread, there was still insufficient access to broadband for many Americans. Disparities in broadband availability can mean disparities in economic growth, educational opportunity, community vitality, public health and safety, and quality of life. Broadband is integral to the state and its regions’ capacity to improve their economic future.
Broadband in Your Local Community
Broadband Common Uses
- Send/receive large files
- Multiplayer network games
- Work from home
- Research at lightning speeds
- Access video on demand
- Social media
- Free phone calls (voice over IP)
Community Planning Essentials
Community Initiatives for Broadband
Organize and Lead
Addressing the broadband needs in your local community will take strong leadership and community support. Organize a local steering committee or a subcommittee of your economic development committee or planning board. Identify a local leader who can champion the effort. Be clear about your decision-making process. Leadership, broad representation and good decision-making are the foundation for expanding broadband in your local community.
Hear How Communities are Learning about Broadband and Building Support
Nate Wyatt from Gothenburg State Bank discusses the importance of broadband to communities.
Nate Wyatt shares how Gothenburg began educating the community and getting leaders on board.
View the panel conversation on broadband availability and affordability from the 2014 Connecting Broadband Nebraska conference.
Identify Your Options for Expanded Broadband
Community support for the addition or expansion of broadband is critical to success. There are many ways to engage your community – start with a local steering committee and consider a speed test campaign or a community-wide survey to better understand the broadband needs. Getting community support early will help educate about the need for broadband and lead to long-term support for future options to expand and use broadband.
See survey examples from Gothenburg, Nebraska
The What, How, Who and When
A community inventory and decision-making by the steering committee will lead to an Action Plan. The Action Plan is the blueprint for moving forward to achieving your broadband goals. It will identify what you want to do, how to do it, who is responsible and the timeframe. The Action Plan can be developed by your Steering Committee and shared with local leadership and your entire community.
Review the Broadband Community Planning Workbook
Learn how your community is currently utilizing broadband and identify ways in which broadband can enhance or develop opportunities. Click here to see if your community is ready to leverage broadband. To engage your community in technology planning to review the community planning workbook.View the Workbook
Learn more and take action to bring broadband to your area.
Is broadband available?
Review the Nebraska Broadband Map
See what broadband services are available in your town or region in Nebraska. The data for the map was collected from broadband service providers, anchor institutions and residents of Nebraska.View the Map
Is your community leveraging broadband?
Review the Broadband Community Planning Workbook.
Learn how your community is currently utilizing broadband and identify ways in which broadband can enhance or develop opportunities. Click here to see if your community is ready to leverage broadband.View the Workbook